Essay on “Privatizing Higher Education Generating Knowledge or Making Money” for CSS, PMS

This is an essay on “Privatizing Higher Education Generating Knowledge or Making Money” for CSS, PMS. Privatization can mean different things including moving something from the public sector into the private sector. It is also sometimes used as a synonym for deregulation when a heavily regulated private company or industry becomes less regulated. So to analyze its effects and major factors, here is a complete essay on the topic of “Privatizing Higher Education Generating Knowledge or Making Money” for CSS, PMS, and All Judiciary Examinations.

In this essay, you will learn about the causes, effects, and major factors of privatizing government departments in Pakistan.

Essay on “Privatizing Higher Education Generating Knowledge or Making Money”


Global perspective

  • Growth of national income
  • Scientific research
  • Knowledge, a capital
  • Importance of higher institutes

Why higher education in Pakistan

  • Educational and national development
  • Stability factor in different fields
  • Education, an emerging force

Higher Education

  • Enhance knowledge and intellectual capacity
  • Role of HEC and its results

Funding of HEC
Quality of education and research due to privatization
Quality Enhancement Cells and Accreditation Councils in private institutes
Faculty development programs in private institutes
Foreign scholarships
How to improve quality?

  • Role of VCs
  • Role of research
  • Improve the quality of teaching
  • W 4 category
  • Plagiarism policy

Essay on “Privatizing Higher Education Generating Knowledge or Making Money ” for CSS, PMS and Judiciary Examinations

Global Perspective

For any nation, global competitiveness and economic success now depend on the existence of capacities to create, develop, consume and disseminate knowledge. Universities need to strengthen and consolidate their potential in areas such as teaching, research, scholarship, and innovation, to ensure that they deliver graduates equipped to tap global knowledge resources and apply what they have learned in support of local and regional development. Developing an institutional strategy that captures past experiences, analyzes existing ways of working, and charts a course for the future is by no means a simple exercise.

Besides, education contributes to the growth of national income and individual earnings. While the land was the main source of wealth and income in agricultural societies, capital, and machinery became important in industrial societies. In today’s information societies, knowledge drives economic growth and development. Higher education is the main source of that knowledge – its production, dissemination, and its absorption by any society.

Economic growth currently depends on the capacity to produce knowledge-based goods. However, the future of knowledge economies depends more on their capacity to produce knowledge through research. Hence, knowledge economies place greater value and accord higher priority to the production and distribution of knowledge. Higher education institutions are a major source for providing the human capital required for knowledge.

Over the centuries, universities were expected to do scientific research including the transfer of knowledge and education of inheritors of the knowledge, and played an important role in the description and widening of everything that forms the widely understood national culture or regional identity. Universities have added on a 3rd task during the 2nd half of the 20th century which is to connect and interact with the outside world aside from performing their 2 traditional tasks.

The importance of knowledge is continuously growing and becoming the primary asset that can be utilized by a specific company or nation. Knowledge has become much more important than investment capital, natural resources, or technology as companies are metamorphosing from production companies into knowledge-creating companies.

Society is dependent on 4 primary factors namely knowledge creation, knowledge transfer, propagation & utilization of new services, and industrial process, and HEIs are the very core and play a fundamental role in there as of scientific research and its utilization, education, and local & regional development.

Higher Education is perceived to be a key player in the knowledge economy and thus we need to look into the structural changes of his particularly in their purpose and mission.

Higher education is more susceptible to the impositions of the market and the state. HEIs are losing their capacity to promote the common good or even to pursue knowledge and truth in an autonomous way. Rhoads argues that neo-liberalism fueled its unwavering belief in market values and the unyielding logic of corporate profit-making, has little patience with non-commodity knowledge, or with the more lofty ideals that have defined higher education as a public service.

Universities are becoming embedded in the logic of academic capitalism, a logic that requires an appropriate policy and cultural climate, specific regulations, and a variety of administrative arrangements and academic regimes.

The second vision uses the human capital theory as a basis when proponents argued that intellectual infrastructure, professional training, and the scientific-technical capability provided by the
university are prerequisites for economic development, particularly in emerging knowledge-based societies.

The university hence becomes a tool for economic growth which calls for the increase in enrollment, closer links with industries, vocational programs, entrepreneurialism, and the development of incubators in high tech areas.

The third vision, the “University as a Means of Social Transformation”, argues that universities have an obligation to contribute to collective projects towards social and environmental justice and ultimately alter existing social, economic, and political relationships.

It proposes a reduction in the gulf between mental and manual work, an integration of theoretical and practical knowledge and making students subjects of their learning process to become active, critical, and creative citizens and to nurture a comprehensive understanding of the relations between productive forces and the social, political, and cultural spheres.

The fourth vision labeled as “Service University” conceives the university as an enterprise, academics as entrepreneurs, and knowledge as a commodity and bears similarities to the concept of
the entrepreneurial university.

The entrepreneurial university is part and parcel of a phenomenon that they identified as academic capitalism, which refers to institutional and professional market efforts to secure external monies. The concept of service or entrepreneurial university is equivalent to that of a commercial university.

Talented managers provide innovative leadership; engineers and scientists are scientific innovators and develop new products, and teaching professionals prepare the young for future development. Those with advanced degrees contribute to higher labor-force productivity, production, and national income because research and development (R&D) activities in industry, as well as in universities, are undertaken largely by those with a university education.

Recent evidence from many countries points to high social rates of return from R&D by universities. Greater. social cohesion and strengthening foundations for democracy that promote property rights and help enforce law and order – necessary conditions to create incentives for innovation – are added social benefits of higher education.

Development economists agree that an atmosphere that promotes innovation is necessary for sustained economic development. Indeed, the children of educated parents grow up with a greater awareness of the value of an investment in education.

Lastly, expanding university education leads to lower per-student costs as the fixed set-up costs involved in establishing infrastructure are divided over a larger body of students, in turn raising the social rates of return on investment in a university degree.

Why higher education in Pakistan

The developing countries are no longer content to be a source of cheap labor. Instead, they are rapidly becoming the driving force of innovation and creativity. They are redesigning entire products and business processes to reduce costs. IBM today employs more people in the developing world than in the developed ones.

The number of US companies listed on Fortune 500 in 2009 fell to its lowest level ever, while more Chinese, South Koreans, and Indian firms appeared on the list than ever before. (The Economist, April 15.)

If Pakistan wishes to become an emerging power, it needs to enhance its knowledge and intellectual capital drastically. It is well known that countries with a sound technological base make
rapid strides in development. There is a direct correlation between knowledge capital and economic development.

Pakistan has one of the lowest tertiary enrolment densities in the world and therefore also the lowest GDP per capita. If we wish to follow in the footsteps of the emerging powers, we need to focus on increasing our knowledge power.

We need to quadruple our knowledge density before we can even reach the levels of the per capita GDP of our fellow Muslim countries Malaysia and Turkey, let alone the emerging giants.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has brought about a revolutionary change in Pakistan since its formation in 2002. It has increased the number of universities from 98 to 132 and
tripled university enrolment. As a result, universities are providing knowledge capital to every developing sector in Pakistan. While only 3,000 Ph.D. degrees were awarded till 2002, over 3,280 have been awarded in the last eight years alone.

The number of scholars on HEC scholarships currently pursuing Ph.D. degrees overseas is over 2,800, while another 3,800 are pursuing it locally. With only 3,500 (20 percent) of university faculties having Ph.D. degrees, the numbers will triple over the next five years.

Simultaneously, the number of research publications has increased from 815 in 2002 to over 4,000 in 2009 and is still growing exponentially each year with the number of returning Ph.D. scholars. Pakistan will thus be on its way to becoming a knowledge power if this pace of growth and development is continued over the next 10 years.

Every dollar invested in higher education brings an exponential return of over 800 percent to the national exchequer. That is why countries like South Korea have invested heavily in higher
education over the last few decades. Korea’s higher education accessibility, which was only five percent in 1960 (the same as in Pakistan today), steadily increased to nine percent in 1970, 16 percent in 1980, 38 percent in 1990, and 68 percent in 2000, and is currently 80 percent. South Korea’s exports have steadily climbed from $32 million in 1960, $660 million in 1970, $17 billion in 1980, $63 billion in 1990, $150 billion in 2000, to over 364 billion now.

Today Pakistan is facing a mounting challenge from neighboring India. India has embarked on a revolutionary plan to boost its higher education sector to international standards. It is already spending 1.03 percent of its GDP on higher education, compared to only 0.28 percent for Pakistan.

The government needs to make a solid financial and political commitment to support higher education and increase its funding by at least 30-35 percent every year over the next ten years. Otherwise, Pakistan will only slide back to join sub-Saharan African states, instead of moving forward and becoming an Asian tiger.

There has been a considerable growth in the number of universities in the country since the formation of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) six years ago. However, as a result of this
growth, the quality of education and research taking place in these institutions has been compromised.

Under the Education Policy 2009, the growth will continue hence posing a big challenge to the HEC as to how to maintain growth as well as sustain, in fact, improve the quality of education at the same time.

A number of measures have already been taken in this regard. Quality Enhancement Cells have been established in 45 universities to date, which is being expanded to all public and private
universities and quarterly progress reports are being mandated to be submitted to the HEC.

We are also moving towards establishing independent Accreditation Councils and an independent Quality Assurance Board to ensure that the quality of our curriculum and instructions is as per international standards.

Higher Education

Faculty development programs will continue as the mainstay of the HEC, which includes foreign and local Ph.D. scholarship programs. A minimum criterion has been established for
awarding Ph.D. degrees, which includes the GRE test, publication, plagiarism test, review of thesis by two foreign experts, and open defense of the dissertation.

The Commission has decided that Ph.D. degrees not meeting the HEC criteria would not be recognized by the HEC, and all the vice-chancellors have been informed accordingly.

The goal is to gradually increase the quality of Ph.D. faculty. In-house faculty training and, development programs are being improved to prepare the faculty not only in teaching methodologies and communication skills but also in subject areas.

The foreign faculty hiring program is currently under assessment to improvise it further. Incentives through tenure track positions, equipment, research and travel grants, post-doc fellowships, and tax incentives are offered to retain good faculty and hopefully reverse the brain drain.

Funding of HEC

Need-based scholarships for students are being increased through USAID, JICA, and other donor agencies, and scholarships have already been doubled for students from FATA and Balochistan.

To ensure quality research, the HEC will continue to focus on infrastructure developments including laboratory equipment, library, and internet access, such as through the National Digital Library, PERN broadband network, and video-conferencing facilities. Over 1500 events have already taken place through video-conferencing.

The HEC has adopted a zero-tolerance policy on plagiarism in research in which all cases reported to HEC are investigated in the light of plagiarism policy.

Two new aspects have been emphasized in the rules of business: universities building communities and fundraising. The HEC expects the universities to have a sense of ownership, to
contribute to the local community, and be a regional hub for community services.

Career placement office, alumni office, and fund-raising/development offices are being developed at the universities under a USAID program currently in place for 11 universities, which will be expanded to other universities once the pilot offices are established within the next three months.

Small business innovative research support through a request for proposal-based process, and venture capital funding, will be made available to support spin-off industries originating from
university research. Incubators, technology, business and agricultural parks, and entrepreneurship centers, to be established in large innovative-oriented universities, will bring research and innovation to the marketplace so that more jobs are created, benefiting the economy.

Relevant career-oriented curricula and workshops and training sessions on newer applied technologies will be offered at the rural-based two-year community colleges, which are to be established with major universities as a pilot project. The technology parks and community colleges will focus on the regional clusters of industries and economies.

Quality of education and research due to privatization

Better governance at the universities is being ensured through the appointment of VCs through search committees. A minimum criterion for an appointment has been developed which has been put into practice for new appointments in federal universities, and the Governors/Provincial Chancellors are being requested to apply it to provincial universities as well.

The VCs have been asked in the annual VCs conference to ensure proper financial, administrative, and external audits every year.

They have been asked to hold regular meetings of all mandated bodies, including syndicate and senates as per their charters. Leadership training programs for VCs have already been initiated/and the National Academy for Higher Education is being revamped to prepare the next generation of university leaders.

The HEC will focus on relevance and quality in teaching and research. It will ensure only quality graduates and researches are produced at our universities, It is a challenging task which can be accomplished if the universities own it too.

The modern university, with its mix of teaching, innovation, and research, is different from the universities of yesteryears, which only served as teaching grounds. By introducing innovation,
creativity and interdisciplinary research are vital components of teaching, and with knowledge exchange programs, the university contributes more directly to the economy and society than many other institutions.

Quality Enhancement Cells and Accreditation Councils in private institutes

The higher education sector worldwide is faced with multiple challenges in view of these changing dynamics. However, the REC has kept abreast of these global developments and has taken numerous measures in recent years to improve the quality and relevancy of education and research at the universities.

Quality Enhancement Cells (QECs) have been established in 85 universities in the last three years. Institutional Performance Evaluations (IPEs) using six international standards are being conducted for the first ten universities.

By next year these will be extended to ten standards and for all universities. The IPEs and the QECs are self-evaluation processes to determine the quality and ensure good governance is maintained at institutions.

The rating criteria for private universities have been enhanced from this year, and now W4 will be considered the highest rating instead of W, which had a lower standard. Simultaneously, the
the criterion to establish new universities in the private sector is being rationalized to enable more universities to be established without compromise on quality.

Thirteen Accreditation Councils (nine autonomous, four through the REC) are now functional which are working with the universities to improve the quality of curriculum and research. Associate-degree programs have been introduced for the first time at two-year colleges, and the REC is working with the provincial governments to improve quality at degree colleges as well.

Research at universities has significantly increased to over 5,000 international journal papers, with Pakistan’s world share increasing by over three times.

As a result, two of Pakistan’s universities are now among the top 300 technology universities in the world. where none existed a few years ago. The university ranking exercise is presently been conducted nationally to rank all universities to determine their teaching and research standards, and categorized as general, engineering and technology, health, agriculture, business, and arts and humanities.

Faculty development programs in private institutes and Foreign scholarships

Faculty development programs are continuing as the mainstay of the REC, which includes foreign and local Ph.D. scholarship programs, as well as split Ph.D. and post-doctoral fellowships.

Currently, only 25 percent (5,000) of the faculty has Ph.D. degrees, and our target is to increase it to 50 percent in the next 10 years. One thousand and seven hundred REC scholars have completed their PhDs from local and foreign universities and joined various organizations, and another 7,500 scholars are corning up.

Starting January 2014, all appointments to the position of lecturer will require an MS/MPhil degree. From January 2016, all assistant professors and above will require a Ph.D. degree. Knowledge transfer through teaching, research, and community service, and not just experience, will be mandatory for promotion.

How to improve quality?

The REC is following a zero-tolerance plagiarism policy in research. All faculties advising Ph.D. students are being asked to be registered with the REC and they will have to fulfill a minimum
criterion to continue advising students. All universities have also been asked to upload the nan1es of their full-time Ph.D. faculty, including their CVs, on their website. A minimum of three full-time relevant PhDs is required in a department to offer the Ph.D. program.

A minimum criterion has been established for Ph.D. degrees, which includes the NTS subject test, publication requirement in an approved journal, plagiarism test, review of thesis by two foreign experts, and open defense of dissertations. Ph.D. degrees not meeting REC criteria will not be recognized.

Better selection of vice-chancellors is being ensured by their appointment through search committees. New challenges for vice-chancellors include leadership skills, academic leadership,
financial management, strategic planning, fundraising, and building communities, economies, and leadership.

A two-day leadership workshop was held along these lines for all newly appointed vice-chancellors for the first time at the REC this year to prepare the next generation of university leaders.

They have also been asked to hold regular meetings of all mandated bodies, including syndicate and senates, and annual convocations every year as per their charter. The HEC expects the universities to have a sense of ownership, to contribute to the local community, and be a regional hub for community services. Career placement offices, alumni offices, and fund-raising/development offices have been developed at a number of universities, which are being extended to all.

Research is being given a new dimension. There is a need to conduct meaningful and relevant research, one that can contribute to creating jobs and building economies. A spirit of entrepreneurship 1s being inculcated. The fast ten Offices of Research, Innovation, and Commercialisation (ORICs) have been established at leading research universities in order to bridge the gap between universities and the industry.

They will be expanded to 30 ORICs in the next couple of years. Incubators and technology parks are the next phases of development for which international partnerships for capacity building are being sought. The technology parks will focus on regional clusters of industries and economies. In other words, the universities will focus on the creation of a knowledge economy, rather than just producing graduates.

The HEC will ensure only quality graduates and research is produced at our universities to develop the next generation of leaders. It is a challenging task that can be accomplished with
political support and if the universities own it too.

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